Preventing Vacation Disasters
Everyone loves a good vacation, and Phoenix residents are notorious for seeking vacations that involve water. So, while a homeowner is off enjoying time at a beach or lake, the peace of mind which comes from the knowledge that a plumbing fiasco isn't happening at home is paramount.
How can plumbing disasters be prevented while a homeowner is away?
1) Shut off the water valve
If a pipe bursts or there is another plumbing issue, if the water valve is off, it can prevent will a flood. What about those who have an automatic sprinkler system or irrigation? There should be a separate valve to the house. While the water heater can still leak, there is a huge difference between forty or fifty gallons and an unlimited supply.
2) Water sensor
If a homeowner is worried about the water heater and has a Smart Hub, a Samsung SmartThings Water Leak Sensor is available from Amazon for under $40, which will send a message to a smartphone instantly if the water heater leaks.
If the home doesn’t have a hub and the owner doesn’t want one, the Proteus Water Detector uses their wifi and sends a text or email if there is a leak. It will run about $100.
3) The ‘safety walk.'
The very act of consciously walking through the home and unplugging appliances offers the homeowner the opportunity to create a contiguous memory of these precautions. Meaning, he won’t lay awake in his hotel room, listening to the sounds of the surf and wondering, “Did I leave the oven on?” It’s easier to remember elements of the ‘safety walk’ than it is trying to recall a particular event if one was haphazardly unplugging things at random. Some people even take photographs of the oven knob in the 'off' position.
With the advent of Arizona’s monsoon season, the potential for lightning means all bets are off when it comes to surge protectors. Unplugging all the heat-creating appliances such as toasters and mini ovens is essential. Homeowners should disconnect delicate electronics rather than rely on surge protectors. Not the wifi, of course, if it’s connected to the water sensor. (See above.)
4) Turn the A/C up but not off
Intense Valley heat can damage flooring and wood, so a vacationer shouldn’t shut the HVAC completely off. But, if it’s turned up, it will lower the electric bill.
5) Turn the water heater to ‘vacation mode.'
Many gas water heaters feature a holiday mode. Electric water heaters can be set to the lowest possible setting (if they aren’t already).
6) Making neighbors aware
The homeowner should ask neighbors, in a reciprocal agreement, to keep an eye out for trouble. If the sprinkler system springs a leak or someone leaves a flyer for pizza delivery on the front door, a neighbor can handle those incidentals before they turn into a massive water bill or break-in alert for burglars.
7) Clean the kitchen stinkers
The three appliances which cause the most odors when a home is vacant for a while are the refrigerator, the garbage disposal, and the dishwasher. Cleaning these three will minimize the potential for mold, rot, and pests while the family is away. It is also advisable to take out the trash and leave the lid up on the washing machine.
8) Lock all doors and windows and set the alarm
In a second home walk-through, each door and window should be checked to make sure they are locked, and then the security system should be activated. Securing the home is an important step, and shouldn’t be skipped, especially if more than one person lives in the house.
A vacation is much more enjoyable if plumbing and other disasters are avoided or minimized. While a homeowner can’t prevent every mishap, a few simple precautions can make a world of difference, both in the potential amount of damage an incident can cause and in the peace of mind.
If you need a licensed plumber before you go on vacation, for a repair or any other plumbing issue in your Phoenix, Arizona home, you can schedule an American Discount Plumbing expert online or give us a call at 602-883-2787